100% Kids Covered: What Medicaid Means to Jose and His Children

25 September 2018 Written by  

Health insurance through the Medicaid program helps thousands of Utah families. About 20% of children who live in our state have access to health care thanks to Medicaid.

Including Jose and his two children:

Jose first heard about the Medicaid program a few weeks before he lost his eyesight.

He was frightened at the inevitable but wanted to provide some form of comfort for his two children. When he lost his eyesight Jose also lost his job and later that year lost his left leg. He struggled to provide for his family but began renting a single bedroom in a house for his two children and himself. With such limited space his thirteen-year-old daughter had to move in with her grandparents.

Despite his circumstances Jose was determined to not “ask” for anything. Jose was especially wary of applying for Medicaid under the current political climate.

So, Jose began taking classes at ​The Blind Center ​ where he was taught how to make pens out of wood. With that skill in hand, he saw an opportunity to provide for his family and began selling his pens around Salt Lake City. However, after embarking on this new endeavor he was unable to create enough revenue to pay for his family’s necessities.

Jose then gave Comunidades Unidas a call, a local non-profit that works to empower the Latino community. Jose’s decision to seek support changed his life and the lives of his children.

His children were both able to obtain health insurance through Medicaid. Today, Jose is thankful that his children have the coverage they need because they can receive their annual check-ups and vaccinations. Jose says obtaining the coverage has removed a barrier that has allowed him to continue working to provide for his family.

Jose lives in Salt Lake County, Utah.

Programs like Medicaid and CHIP help Utah families like Jose’s obtain access to health care so they can thrive. Our 100% Kids Coverage Campaign aims to protect and strengthen vital health programs such as Medicaid to ensure that all our kids are healthy.


CiriacHealth Policy and Community Engagement Fellow

Ciriac is a proud immigrant who is passionate about immigrant rights, education, and health care. She is a community organizer, poet, and writer who uses her voice and online platform to advocate for her community.

During her undergraduate she was heavily involved in creating access to higher education for undocumented students on the University of Utah campus. After graduating, she has continued to work closely with the Enriching Utah Coalition (EUC) and serves as the Immigration Chair for the Utah Coalition of la Raza (UCLR) board to work on immigrant justice issues.

Ciriac graduated with a B.S. in Political Science and Honors Sociology  from the University of Utah. She was born in Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico and grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is excited to join Voices for Utah Children as the Health Policy and Community Engagement Fellow and hopes to continue her education by obtaining a J.D. or M.P.A.